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Business as Usual

How can Europe remain united and move forward after a money laundering scandal? A cooperation between Estonia and Denmark seeks solutions to build a more honest future.


European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024 is knocking on the conscience of Europe! The collaborative production of the Estonian Drama Theatre and Denmark, titled “Rahamaa” (”Business as Usual”), explores the detrimental impact of illicit money on democracy and encourages reflection on how each of us can defend European values. The play, which premiers in June at Kammivabrik, is a gripping narrative inspired by the money laundering scandals, the consequences of which rocked Estonian banking. As an additional event, a lecture and video series will be created, providing insights into the theme from economic, legal, and cultural perspectives.


The actual scope of the money laundering scandal that rocked Estonian banking was unveiled as a result of the war in Ukraine and the sanctions imposed on Russia. It became visible how significant the impact of dirty money is on the entire Europe. The play, together with a series of additional events, will attempt to answer two crucial questions. Firstly, what enabled the possibility of such a large-scale money laundering scheme in Europe and secondly, what are its consequences and how to mitigate the negative impact?

The Estonian-Danish production will be performed at Kammivabrik in June 2024. At the centre of the story is a young man from the Tartu suburb of Annelinn who, through connections, lands a job in the foreign banking department of a prestigious bank.  The play is authored by Mehis Pihla and directed by Hendrik Toompere Jr. The musical design will be created by the ensemble led by Maria Faust, bringing together some of the best jazz artists from Estonia and Denmark. The production will be multilingual, including Estonian, English, Danish, and Russian. A total of eleven performances will be held, all of which will include English subtitles.

Before the performances, mini-lectures will be held, seeking answers to the question of how to reshape the European economy and politics to prevent illicit money from undermining shared values. We welcome all who are interested, but especially students as they are the shapers of Estonian and Europe’s future. Additionally, video lectures will be produced and made available online.

“Business as Usual” will make everyone think about the kind of Europe we wish to see, and what can be done to bring that image to fruition. Money laundering is not only the “internal matter of the financial system”; its consequences are reflected in our everyday choices. For example, the kinds of companies we choose to support through the consumption of products and services.


Tartu has the opportunity to become a centre for socially significant debates, both in Estonia and beyond. The event series promotes new interdisciplinary connections and cultural cooperation. The play amplifies themes that are relevant throughout Europe, with the potential for dissemination as reading material and potential new productions.